Alpinestars Yaguara Drystar Jacket

Editor Score: 80.0%
Aesthetics 8.5/10
Protection 8.0/10
Value 6.0/10
Comfort/Fit 8.5/10
Quality/Design 8.5/10
Weight 7.5/10
Options/Selection 8.5/10
Innovation 8.0/10
Weather Suitability 8.5/10
Desirable/Cool Factor 8.0/10
Overall Score80/100

Behold and covet my brand new jacket, the aptly named Yaguara, as that’s the kind of jungle cat I feel like when I’m wearing it. Grrrrr… The reason it’s $650 is because it’s designed to work with the Alpinestars Tech-Air inflatable airbag vest, that’s right, the same one they use in their high-end roadracing suits. Well, not exactly the same one, as there are slightly different Street and Race vest systems. More info here, but basically there’s an optional vest that zips in, plugs in, and will inflate – in 25 milliseconds – via a pair of argon inflation cartridges to protect your torso and shoulders, when it determines you’re about to have a real adventure. That’s 1/40 of a second.

On top of the $650 cost of the Yaguara itself, the vest sells for around $1,150. There’s an accelerometer and a gyroscope in there that tells the vest’s computer that things have gone suddenly south, powered by a rechargeable battery good for 25 hours per charge. Definitely a good thing to have if one has the price of admission.

If one doesn’t, well, the Yaguara is still a really nice jacket, and less expensive when you consider the other A’stars Tech-Air-ready tour jacket, the Revenant, sells for $950.

The Yaguara does come with good level 2 CE-approved armor in the shoulders and elbows, and even level 1 pads in the breasts (speaking of which, there’s a Stella Yaguara for the ladies). There’s a pocket for an optional back protector, which will set you back either $59.95 or $79.95 for the Nucleo KR-2i or Nucleo KR-1i. The airbag vest incorporates a back protector, see, so the jacket doesn’t come with one. The Polyamide shell material, which feels like a slightly stretchy kind of nylon, is supposedly very abrasion resistant, but I wouldn’t want to slide too far down the road on my back without something back there…

Your Yaguara is prewired with sensors, the Tech-Air vest zips in and plugs right into those connectors.

Where the Revenant is lined with Gore-Tex waterproof material, the $300-cheaper Yaguara uses A’stars proprietary Drystar material, bonded to its Polyamide fabric shell. Both are great at keeping rain out, but those who profess to know contend that Gore-Tex lets moisture out better than Drystar. I got dumped on for about 15 minutes in northern California in the Yaguara last week, and stayed perfectly dry – but then 15 minutes isn’t enough time to really tell. The outer shell seems waterproof, and all the seams are taped and all the vents use waterproof zippers.

The venting works great when you’re rolling.

Standing around in the hot sun in my black Yaguara is not cool, man; the jacket seems like it weighs about six pounds without a back pad and before you spring for the air vest (which adds a considerable 4.5 lbs and doesn’t look like it’s going to make you any cooler on a hot day). But once rolling, the four front and two long vertical vents on back flow more air than I would’ve expected, and keep you pretty chill in temps in the high 90s, if you’re in a dry climate anyway.

I also like the oversize sleeve openings that you can leave open to funnel air right up your armpits; double-ended sleeve zippers let in even more air. There’s plenty of adjustment down there to accommodate all kinds of gloves – short summery ones when it’s hot, thick gauntleted ones when it’s cool. A thoughtful loop at the collar flap works with a cute little hook to keep the neck wide open to let the breeze in, too. Adjustable belts at the sides and on the sleeves let you snug or loosen things up as needed.

If you’re thinking you might want to buy the jacket now and save up for the airbag vest later, that might not be a great idea because of sizing. I’m a 52 in every other Euro brand, but the Yaguaro 52 is more than one size too big for me; it has to be that way to leave room for the airbag to inflate.

In a 50, I’d still have room for quite a few layers up under. Another thing I’d expect in a $650 jacket is a zip-in thermal liner, but the Yaguara has none. With all the vents zipped closed, though, she seals up nicely, and kept me warm enough down to 58 degrees even in nothing but a long-sleeved t-shirt. Without heated grips I would’ve gotten chilly – but my bad for not bringing any warm clothes on my 1000-mile test ride.

Storagewise, two exterior rain-zippered breast pockets appear to be waterproof and are way convenient for phone and whatever. The two more exterior pockets down low hold a lot but you’ll have to fight with the expanse of Velcro that guards their entrance every time you want in even though there’s already a full-length zipper under the flap. And a snap. Velcro on modern gear is like kudzu.

Then you get two more interior pockets down low in front in the jacket’s nylon mesh liner, held closed by, ahem, Velcro. Don’t put anything hard in the big pocket along the lower back of the jacket.

The Yaguara in yellow might be more visible, though there’s reflective stripes on back of all the color options.

At the end of the day, it’s a very nice and comfortable three- and maybe-four season jacket that requires no break-in. If you’re able to afford the Tech-Air vest, more power to you, the Yaguara is one of few games in town. If you’re not going for the inflatable vest, though, you’re looking at over $700 by the time you add a back protector, an unknown part of that outlay for internal wiring and sensors you’re not even going to use, so ahhhh, why would you? For that kind of money, I personally would have to shop around.

Alpinestars Yaguara Drystar